Patriots eyeing top four spot in CPL
BRIDGETOWN, Barbado (CMC):
West Indies Twenty20 star Carlos Brathwaite has backed St Kitts and Nevis Patriots to reach the playoffs of this season's Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
Patriots debuted in last year's campaign but finished last in the preliminary phase, after gathering just four wins from their 10 games.
Brathwaite said his teammates had put in the work but failed to get the results, and were intent on turning their fortunes around this year.
"There haven't been any animosity in the dressing room. Each time we went out there to play, we play our hearts out for the badge," Brathwaite said.
"But it just didn't materialise as we would have liked last year, but it wasn't to do with any off- the-field issues. We are one big family and there is a lot of love. Most of the guys hang out together, go to dinner together, celebrate together, even party together in the casino.
"It's not for a lack of team spirit, it's just that the result didn't materialise the way we wanted."
He added: "We should make it to the play-offs [this season], which is the first step. Once we get to the play-offs, we are three or two games from the title."
Patriots have strengthened significantly this year, with overseas players like South African Faf du Plessis, Australian Brad Hodge, and Sri Lankan Thisara Perera teaming up.
West Indies T20 star Lendl Simmons has moved over from Guyana Amazon Warriors, while the presence of Brathwaite and West Indies T20 leg-spinner Samuel Badree, signals a strong regional line-up.
Brathwaite said this season would be about attempting to repay the faith of the committed Patriots fans, especially following a disappointing campaign last year.
"The passion that the fans showed last year. We had an up and down season, and they were there throughout," Brathwaite pointed out.
"They stayed through the entirety of the game and they came out in their numbers. For me, it's about coming back and repaying that passion on the field."
Patriots open their season next Thursday in Basseterre when they take on Amazon Warriors in the second game of the tournament.
The CPL runs from June 29 to August 7.